Headlines: August 5th, 2008

The Department for Culture Media and Sport has launched a consultation on proposals to reduce bureaucracy and costs for community centres and village halls that sell alcohol.

Currently every licensed premises must have a named premises supervisor, who has responsibility for authorising all sales of alcohol and she or he must complete a training course. Community groups have difficulty in finding a volunteer to act as premises supervisor and the cost of training stretches budgets.

Under the proposals, a management board or committee would have collective responsibility for the licence and supervision of the premises and the sale of alcohol. However the licence could still be reviewed if residents, the police or any other authority had concerns and this could lead to the reinstatement of the requirement for a designated premises supervisor.

The new arrangement would apply to all premises which form part of a church hall, chapel hall, village hall, parish hall or community hall or other similar building. But to qualify the premises must have a formal management or executive committee.

The proposals also include a package of measures to reduce bureaucracy and save money for managers of licensed premises. In future any pub or other licensed premises that wants to make a minor change to the terms of their licence, such as a small-scale refurbishment, will be able to use a cheaper, simpler and quicker process to vary the terms of their licence. Currently around 30 per cent of applications for variations can be classified as minor.

Local authorities will have the power to decide if a variation to the licence is ‘minor’, that is whether it could have any adverse impact on the licensing objectives.

Consultation on the proposals ends on 1 September 2008